Caleb Williams' gutsy showing in Pac-12 Title Game should keep him atop Heisman race

Caleb Williams, USC Football, USC Trojans
Caleb Williams, USC Football, USC Trojans / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

USC Football lost in the Pac-12 Championship Game by a brutal score of 47-24, but it wasn't without a valiant performance by QB1 Caleb Williams. Williams was injured the whole game, limping up and down the field throughout the contest. It got worse and worse as the game went on. He had no mobility, which also of course led to him being a non-factor with his legs.

He had no escapability, and to make matters worse, his No. 1 Offensive Lineman in Left Guard Andrew Vorhees was out for the game. Then, his No. 2 Offensive Lineman in Brett Neilon ended up having to leave the game. The pocket kept collapsing, and him not being able to move led to him never having anywhere to go.

This isn't to mention a giant gash that was seen on his throwing hand, that as the game went on became clear to have been affecting him. He was originally able to overcome it, but it ended up proving to make a difference as the game went on. Williams, however, kept it a game and brought SC back and within three with 10:52 left in the game with a TD pass to Mario Williams.

Then, the defense melted down and gave up a 60-yard touchdown bomb to guess who? A tight end. It was Thomas Yassmin. But then, Williams marched down to Utah's 23-yard line and put the Trojans in position to score again. Unfortunately, he then threw just his fourth interception of the season, and then the defense gave up a 53-yard TD run from Ja'Quinden Jackson three plays later.

The game was essentially then over, other than when USC's defense gave up yet another massive play for a touchdown with 1:52 left in the contest. It was a 23-yard TD run from Micah Bernard. But Williams kept this team in the game until that pick with 6:57 left. Williams, on literally one leg, kept the Trojans in the contest deep into the fourth quarter.

It goes to show that USC Football QB Caleb Williams should still be the Heisman Trophy winner.

Despite Caleb Williams only playing on one leg for USC Football in the Pac-12 Title Game, he still completed 28 of 41 passes. He still threw for 363 passing yards on 8.9 pass yards per attempt. He still threw for three touchdowns. He even did have 21 rushing yards despite not being able to run for a high majority of the game.

Williams should not be penalized for playing in an extra game that C.J. Stroud didn't play well enough to get, and getting injured in that extra game. Especially when he put this team on his back on just that one leg and kept the Trojans in it for over 53 minutes of the contest.

And yes, TCU QB Max Duggan earned that extra game too, but once again it's important to remember how dominant Williams would have been if he wasn't injured in the game. Williams had SC up 17-3 before the limp completely hampered him in the contest. If he was healthy, his performance would have been much different, and the result of the game could have been much different too.

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At the end of the day, Williams took a 4-8 team to a 11-2 season as soon as he got to this program, and put up better numbers than anyone in the country. Even if Duggan goes crazy in his conference championship game, Williams still had the better stats while he was healthy. This game should not keep Williams away from the Heisman Trophy.